Oil spill in Thailand's sea reaches tourist island
BANGKOK (AP) – Black waves of crude oil washed up on a beach at a popular tourist island in Thailand’s eastern sea despite continuous attempts to clean up the oil over the weekend after it leaked from a pipeline, officials said on Monday.
Tourists on Samet island were warned to stay away from the beach marred by inky globs as hundreds of workers in white jumpsuits laboured to scrape the sand clean and remove the oil from the water.
About 50 tonnes of oil spilled into the sea off Rayong province on Saturday morning after a leak sprung in a pipeline operated by PTT Global Chemical Plc, a subsidiary of state-owned oil and gas company PTT Plc.
Streaks of crude oil about 300 metres wide have marred the shore of Prao Bay on Samet Island, one of the most popular beach destinations among Thai and foreign tourists in the Gulf of Thailand, Rayong’s deputy provincial governor Supeepat Chongpanish said on Monday.
He said authorities have closed down the bay as 300 workers are working to remove the oil from the white beach and from the waters.
“The top priorities right now are to get rid of the oil on the sand and the seawaters, and to make sure the spill doesn’t spread to other shores,” Mr Supeepat said. “This is a very beautiful, white, sandy beach, so we want to make the spill go away as soon as possible.”
Known for its quieter scene and serene beach, Prao Bay is blackened by waves of oil slicks that lashed at the shore.
“The black waves started rolling in since last night and by the morning the beach was all tainted with oil,” Mr Kevin Wikul, the assistant front desk officer of a resort in Prao Bay, told The Associated Press in a telephone interview. “We have advised our guests against going near the beach and some of them have asked for early check-outs.” T